I don’t understand the world. Be funny-be serious, get mad-get happy, I’m 21 years old, a successful student graduating in the spring. I’m scared to death of not finding a job after working so hard to last four years. Calm down, relax and hurry up! Do everything you can to get ahead, relax and enjoy college life! I’m so confused!!!!! I think life’s funny!
“I bumped into Mary-Kate Olsen on the street in the worst part of New York City. I almost knocked her down!” said UNCP junior Wade Allen. “Then I realized who she was as I turned to apologize. I jumped at the chance to get her autograph,” Allen said.
“I’ve met hundreds of stars and have interviewed some, too,” Allen said.
Allen shared colorful stories such as his involving meeting Mary Kate Olsen on “Your Carolina” hosted by Jack Roper and Kimberly Kelly. The television show airs in western North Carolina and South Carolina.
During his interview on Sept. 19, Allen described his massive collection of signatures and his aspirations of having his own television show in which he interviews celebrities.
Allen is majoring in broadcasting and a serious collector of autographs. His extensive collection includes approximately 1,900 autographs including pictures of all sizes, index cards, menus, napkins, tote bags, purses and costumes.
Allen is respected by other collectors because of the size of his collection and the fact that he actually knows many celebrities.
“I have more than most people I come in contact with,” Allen said. “I meet collectors who only have signatures of older stars or vice versa. Me, I have them all!” he said.
Among his favorite autographs are Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor and Nancy Reagan because they are his heroes.
“Now that doesn’t mean I don’t love my signatures from Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian,” Allen said.
Allen began collecting celebrity memorabilia when he was a freshman in high school.
He was a member of a committee to raise money to build a football field house.
The committee decided to do a celebrity auction and Allen was assigned to write to celebrities asking for merchandise to auction.
A passion for celebrity autographs was born and quickly became Allen’s number one hobby.
Allen worked hard to get his role model’s autograph.
“I left at 3:30 a.m. to walk eight blocks alone, in the dark, in New York City and I waited for Diane Sawyer to arrive at work for Good Morning America,” Allen said.
“When she got there, we took a picture together and I was so excited about talking to her that I forgot to ask her to sign an autograph,” Allen chuckled.
Allen spent the most time getting Vicki Lawrence’s autograph. He drove three hours to the venue where she was to appear, waited six hours for her to show up and then drove three hours back.
He admitted that he has always been a fan of Lawrence and her 1980s sitcom “Mama’s Family.” When asked about the experience, Allen said, “Man that was some kind of cool!”
Allen has not only corresponded with many celebrities but has met and visited with many rich and famous celebrities including Lily Tomlin, Pat Boone, Wayne Newton, Rue McClanahan, Catherine Bell and Kelly Packard.
“Yeah, Catherine and Kelly know me. I’ve seen them several times over the years,” Allen said.
“You’ll never find two sweeter ladies,” he added.
Allen keeps a running list at his home of everyone he wants to obtain an autograph from, consisting of celebrities of all ages and genres.
“The coolest thing is meeting them and getting to talk to them,” Allen said.
“Lily Tomlin was coming out of the theater when I met her. She had a wine glass in her hand and set it down on the sidewalk to talk to me,” Allen said.
“She listened to me talk about how much I loved her acting and my home town of Rutherfordton, N.C.,” he said.
“We talked for about 15 minutes and I got a great picture,” explained Allen.
He loves helping others and donates to many worthy organizations, mostly from his hometown.
“A couple of years ago, I spearheaded a celebrity purse auction,” Allen said.
“When the donations poured in, I was totally amazed,” he said. “I mean, we got some legends involved in our efforts.”
Among the celebrities sending donations to Allen were Betty White and Phyllis Diller.
Allen keeps a list of upcoming events and always keeps his friends posted concerning his celebrity encounters on his Facebook profile.
He loves older celebrities the most because they are the most generous and, according to Allen, the friendliest.
“I’ve met some nice younger stars, but by far the most generous are the golden oldies,” Allen said.
Allen is most excited about seeing actor Hal Holbrook in April. Holbrook will perform his one-man-production in Hamlet, N.C. at Richmond Community College. Holbrook is presenting “Mark Twain,” which is the same show he won a Tony Award for in the 1970s and Allen says that it would be an honor to meet him.
“He’s awesome. I really hope his wife Dixie Carter is with him,” Allen said.“She’s one of my favorite actresses and I love her trademark Southern wit and charm,” he said.